Running through Forest Lawn Cemetery will make you think a lot about your own mortality because there are literally thousands of gravestones. Some might even have your name on them.
People treat death differently. Most believe in some sort of afterlife. I’ve heard talk of Heaven, virgins, rebirth, dirt and Hell. Warren Beatty comes back to own the Los Angeles Rams in certain versions. I won’t have any answers until I’m finally killed by someone who is texting while driving.
I respect everyone’s beliefs and wishes but, one practice does puzzle me– living people who get open-ended dates chiseled into their future tombstones. That is like asking to be killed.
If your sick family wants there to be a rock ready for placement over your corpse, so be it. But, pay the grave chiseler an extra shilling to hop down to the graveyard after you’ve passed. Don’t leave a “Coming Attractions” sign on a rock in a graveyard.
How does one even enter into this promise to die? I’m sure, in most cases, a spouse dies and then the pushy funeral home bombards you with the 2-for-1 gravestone special. They probably pressure you into buying both because “the offer is only warm as long as the body is.”I get it. Anyone would fall for that ploy. That doesn’t mean you have to put your name on the stone before you die. What if you die at sea? You’ve just wasted a tombstone.
It has to be weird visiting your dear departed and seeing that name and date just sit there like a time bomb. No one lives forever but that isn’t a fact that needs to be advertised. Perhaps you can simply use a pencil to scrawl ‘Still Kicking!’ under your name until the time is right. Or a comical “Out to Lunch.”
You can’t cheat death if you’ve already written the answers down in pen.
Personally, I’m against the entire concept of tombstones and monuments. My wife has promised me a modest funeral. I would like my ashes to be swept into a Folgers can. This way, my “tombstone” money can be spent on a live performance of White Lion playing “When the Children Cry.”
Oh, and Seymour A. is 160 years old. That has to be a record. I’m betting this guy is nails. He really doesn’t want you on his lawn.
Greg Bauch is the author of the book ‘Frank Dates’.